How to save on travel money
Published Wed, Sep 26, 2012 Updated Tue, Feb 16, 2021
We all know not to change money in the airport – it’s the most expensive way of doing things and should only be used as a last resort. Apart from that, there are a lot of different ways of paying for things when you’re on holiday and there are definitely ways of saving money. Travellers cheques have all but disappeared and to some extent been replaced by prepaid cards.
Use a specialist credit card
One of the best ways of spending money abroad is to use the right credit card. In their standard form, any type of bank card is usually the worst way of paying for things, as there can be transaction fees and loading fees on top of the exchange rate. There are however several cards out there which have special benefits when you use them abroad, so they could make purchasing things much cheaper. You can find out about these cards if you ask in your bank branch or have a look online.
Check the small print
It’s always important to check the entirety of the card details however, as there could well be completely different rules and fees for withdrawing cash compared to actually making card purchases. Some cards will be better for one than the other and finding one that offers the best rates for both is rare. Debit cards rarely have any kind of benefits associated with them, so they should not really be used unless you don’t have the ability to get a credit card.
Where to find the best exchange rates
Of course, cards are all very well, but you can’t use them everywhere, and they’re not suitable for all transactions. If you’re going abroad, you will need to use cash at some point, so it’s worth considering the best way of getting hold of some. You can always browse the internet to find the best exchange rates and there are several comparison sites available. If you want the convenience of picking up your money at the airport, then you can usually order it in advance at the right price, and then pick it up there. Actually withdrawing cash abroad is often quite expensive, and it’s usually best to bring what you need with you. For larger purchases, a card is usually best so there’s no need to bring a huge amount of cash.
Use prepaid cards on holiday
There are now other ways of getting money as well. Prepaid cards are becoming increasingly popular, because they generally offer very good exchange rates, and have the security of carrying a card rather than cash. Some of the best card providers boast a 10% saving over traditional methods of currency exchange, because they offer business rates.
Remember to shop around when you’re planning for travel money and you can save yourself a considerable amount of money. Be practical too; it’s best not to carry too much cash on you, but you will undoubtedly need it for something.